The RFCA receives the majority of its funding from government sources, however our small staff of crown servants are able to generate income from the estate. This is what we call our regionally-generated income. All of the income that we generate is re-invested into the betterment of the estate, creating excellent facilities for our Reserves and Cadets to use on a daily basis.
Despite the residual rollercoaster of various covid restrictions this past year, our sites remained open throughout and our bookings from hiring out available capacity in our Army Reserve Centres have grown steadily. Nationally, this venue hiring arm of the RFCA operates under the name Alternative Venues. For a second consecutive year, Alternative Venues has outperformed our regional target, generating an income of £363K, which is an increase of over £150K over the previous financial year.
The focus remained on growing activity with other uniformed services. First aid training, fitness testing, scenario-based activities and vehicle storage are just some of the ways our customers have been using our sites, putting any spare capacity we have to good use. The Ministry of Justice and Police forces have high recruitment targets to meet in the next couple of years, and our sites are providing excellent value-for-money facilities in order to train the new recruits.
Across our private rentals, a significant project this year has been ensuring all of the properties meet the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards and have the relevant energy performance certification in place. Going forward, this work will also be applied to the sites we commercially let too.
Reserve and cadet units receive a significant proportion of regionally-generated income from their site, while the remainder could be used in other parts of the estate to carry out un-funded works that would otherwise be deferred, to the detriment of the optimal conditions our teams strive to achieve for Reserves and Cadets. Over the past 12 months, the RFCA staff working on regionally-generated income, led by Business Development Manager Sarah Bennett, have:
- Issued more than 350 invoices
- Liaised with over 70 clients and businesses
- Delivered events and hirings at 30 different sites
- Created one new website
The new Alternative Venues website will operate as both a shop front for prospective clients and also a fully integrated bookings calendar where EA RFCA staff and site leads will be able to access all details and documentation associated with each individual hire.